Varicose Veins - Pregnancy - Premier Vascular

About 40 percent of pregnant women are affected by varicose veins. These swollen and enlarged twisted veins can develop anytime during pregnancy.

What causes varicose veins?
Our veins in the legs have one-way valves that help the blood flow back to the heart. When these valves don’t function properly, it causes the blood to pool in the veins and stretches the vein walls. This causes the vein to swell, twist, and bulge.

When and where do they usually appear?
Most pregnant women notice the varicose veins when they are getting heavier, usually around the end of the second trimester. It can almost show up anywhere in the lower part of the body even on the vulva and rectum (these enlarged veins in the anus are called “hemorrhoids”).

Why do they occur during pregnancy?
Varicose veins may develop during pregnancy because of:

  • An increase in blood volume
  • Added pressure to the inferior vena cava-vein that helps blood back to the heart from the feet and leg
  • Increase progesterone level makes the wall of the veins softer, making them more prone to swelling
  • Genetics

What can I do to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?
There are ways you can try to help minimize and control varicose veins during pregnancy. Some of the measures that might help are:

Exercise can keep your blood flowing. With your doctor’s permission, take a short walk or do some low-key circulation-increasing exercise such as flexing your ankles, swimming, or light yoga stretches. Lying down while elevating your legs above the heart level may also help improve blood circulation.

Watch your weight.
Know your limits when craving some food as increased in weight may put too much pressure on your veins.

Wear comfy clothes.
Stay away from tight-fitting clothes, shoes, and heels. Wear clothes and underwear that fit well.

Wear compression stockings.
Support hose can counteract the downward pressure of your belly and give the veins in your legs a little extra upward push. Putting them on before you get out of your bed helps prevent blood from pooling.

Sleep on your left side.
Sleeping on your left side can relieve the pressure on your abdominal veins and help your leg veins drain.

Can varicose veins be treated while being pregnant?
Long ago, doctors occasionally operated on severe varicose veins during pregnancy but as time went by, it was no longer practiced.

Most physicians do not recommend varicose vein procedures in pregnant women because as the baby continues to grow, new varicose veins may form. Also, some varicose veins may resolve on their own with 3 months to 1 year postpartum. If varicose veins after pregnancy don’t go away on their own, the vascular specialists at Premier Surgical Vascular and Vein Center in Knoxville can perform minimally invasive procedures to eradicate painful, ugly varicose veins. The most popular methods are:

In this treatment, a solution is injected into varicose veins, causing them to seal off from the other veins in your leg. The vein closes over time and is eventually absorbed into your body.

Endovenous Laser Treatment
This type of treatment involves the use of laser energy. It is administered into the diseased vein, causing the vein to close and collapse. The vein is reabsorbed by the body, while blood is rerouted to healthier blood vessels.

Radiofrequency Ablation
This technique uses heat to damage tissue to close a vein. Instead of lasers, they use radiofrequency to heat up and close the wall of a diseased vein.

Premier Surgical Vascular and Vein Center is the only vein treatment facility in Knoxville, TN with an entire team of board certified vascular surgeons personally treating your veins and arteries. With our minimally invasive procedures, we’ve helped thousands of men and women love their legs again! For an appointment, call us at (865) 588-8229 or book online at